Until recently, no figure loomed larger on Wall Street than Richard Grasso, the former head of the New York Stock Exchange. Though short in stature, his power and influence was immense. During his 35 years at the exchange, the last seven as its Chairman, Grasso was known on the floor of the Exchange as The Little Guy in the Dark Suit who commanded the attention of politicians, brokered deals with the nation's most influential businessmen, became a national hero for his work helping Wall Street recover from the 9/11 terrorist attacks, and then emerged as a symbol of corporate excess over the details of his enormous compensation package. Chronicling the amazing rise, fall, and possible rise again of Richard Grasso, and also tells the modern history of the all-powerful institution that he came to symbolise: The New York Stock Exchange.Known as The Club, the NYSE is the world's biggest stock market, where trillions of dollars of stocks of the nation's largest companies are priced and traded each day between its 9:30 am opening bell and its 4 pm close.
Richard Grasso began his career as a clerk on the floor of the Exchange, where screaming traders match buyers and sellers of stocks each day. Even as he rose through the ranks of the Club, Grasso never seemed to leave the floor too far behind. During his three decade career at the Exchange, Grasso fought tooth and nail to keep traders and the NYSE in business, underscored by his outlandish publicity stunts - and even more important, by his perennial public and private battles with various top players in the Club, including its most powerful member, Goldman Sachs CEO Hank Paulson.